The Bangladesh Climate Change Resilience Fund (BCCRF)

Bangladesh is one of the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world, and is expected to become even more so as a result of climate change. Climate change and variability have already had an impact on the lives and livelihoods of people living in coastal areas and in arid and semi-arid regions of Bangladesh. Floods, tropical cyclones, storm surges and droughts are becoming more frequent and will be more severe in the coming years and decades. These changes are threatening the significant achievements Bangladesh has made over the last 20 years in increasing incomes, reducing poverty and in achieving self sufficiency in the production of rice, the country's staple food crop.

The effects of climate change will also make it more difficult for Bangladesh to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. It is essential that the country prepares now to adapt to climate change and safeguard the future well-being of its people.

“It is widely accepted that the gravest effect of climate change may be on human migration. Last year, 42 million people were newly displaced by rapid-onset natural disasters. Extreme weather events are already displacing many more people than violent conflict. Slow-onset events like sea-level rise and desertification get even lower global focus. We must work towards correcting this imbalance.” 
Ms Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, at the inaugural speech of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, 14 November 2011, Dhaka

“Climate change is no longer only an environmental issue; it is a development issue. We have invested billions in adaptation measures such as flood management schemes, coastal embankments, cyclone shelters and others. However, the journey is far from being over.”
Dr Hasan Mahmud, Minister for Environment and Forests, at the launching ceremony of the World Bank report on ‘The cost of adapting to extreme weather events in a changing climate’ in March 2012 (source: World Bank) 

Implementing the Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan

Overall objective:

Protect and improve the lives of 10 million climate-vulnerable people in Bangladesh by 2017 through climate change adaptation, mitigation and disaster risk reduction measures.

Specific objective:

Support the Government of Bangladesh with the implementation of the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan.

Main expected results and activities 

The GCCA supports the implementation of the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan through a contribution to the multi-donor Bangladesh Climate Change Resilience Fund. The plan is being implemented in six programme areas: food security, social protection and health; comprehensive disaster management; building resilient infrastructure; increasing the knowledge base; mitigation and low-carbon development; and capacity building and institutional strengthening.

Food security, social protection and health are improved.

The Climate Change Action Plan includes actions to increase the resilience of vulnerable groups, including women and children, through scaling up of community-level adaptation, livelihood diversification, better access to basic services and social protection. It will also support activities such as the development and implementation of climate change resilient cropping, fisheries and livestock systems to ensure food security at household and national level, the implementation of surveillance systems of existing and new disease risks, and actions to ensure health systems are geared to meet future demands.

Disaster risk management is addressed comprehensively.

The Action Plan supports activities to strengthen government, civil society and communities’ capacity to manage natural disasters, and to ensure that appropriate policies, laws and regulations are in place. Bangladesh’s cyclone, storm surge and flood early warning systems will be upgraded to enable more accurate short, medium and long term forecasts. Cyclone and flood shelters will be built.

Resilient infrastructure is built.

Climate change resilient drinking water and sanitation programmes will be developed in areas at risk from climate change such as coastal areas, flood- and drought-prone areas. Existing infrastructure will be repaired and rehabilitated, with local communities involved in operation and maintenance. Urgently needed new infrastructure, such as coastal and river embankments, water management and drainage systems, will be planned, designed and constructed to meet the changing conditions expected with climate change.

The knowledge base is increased.

Climate change scenarios for Bangladesh will be modelled, as well as the hydrological impacts of climate change on the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna system; the new models will guide the design of new infrastructure such as flood protection embankments. The impact of climate change on ecosystems and biodiversity, on the macro-economy, on key sectors, on poverty, vulnerability and health will be researched. An International Centre for Adaptation, Research and Knowledge Management on Climate Change will be established to ensure that Bangladesh has access to the latest information, know-how and technologies from around the world.

Carbon emissions are mitigated, and development is less dependent on carbon.

A strategic energy plan and investment portfolio are being developed to ensure national energy security, energy efficiency and lower greenhouse gas emissions; state-of-the-art technologies will be transferred to help Bangladesh follow a low-carbon development path. Energy and technology policies will also be reviewed, and incentives provided to promote the efficient production, consumption, distribution and use of energy.

The social forestry programme will be expanded on government and community lands throughout the country. So will the ‘greenbelt’ coastal afforestation programme, which involves mangrove planting along the shoreline. Low-emission farming practices will be encouraged, and renewable off-grid energy systems deployed in scattered coastal settlements.

Capacities are built and institutions strengthened.

Community-based adaptation programmes will be established or strengthened in each of the disaster-prone parts of the country. Future infrastructure needs will be subject to strategic planning, taking into account the likely future patterns of urbanisation and socio-economic development, and the changing hydrological patterns climate change is likely to bring about.

Climate change will be mainstreamed in national, sectoral and spatial development planning, ensuring that actions that tackle impacts on vulnerable groups and women are prioritised in plans. The capacity of key government ministries and agencies will be strengthened to take forward climate change adaptation, and to undertake international and regional negotiations on climate change. The capacity of the government, civil society and the private sector to access carbon finance will also be built.

Key achievements 
  • The governance structures of the Bangladesh Climate Change Resilience Fund (BCCRF) are established and operational. The BCCRF secretariat has been set up with the Ministry of Environment and Forests. A project management advisor and financial management specialist have been recruited, and the technical advisor position is being reviewed.
  • Contracts have been awarded for the construction of 61 new cyclone shelters under the Multipurpose Cyclone Shelter Construction Project (USD 25m), which is implemented by the Local Government Engineering Department. As of March 2014, the construction of 4 disaster shelters in Pirojpur district has been fully completed and 4 disaster shelters in Patuakhali district are at an advanced stage of completion (97%). The remaining 53 disaster shelters show different levels of progress, with 29 shelters at about 70% completion. About 75% of the construction of 11.50 Km of connecting road to the disaster shelters in Barguna district has been completed. In total, USD 15.0 million out of USD 25 million has been disbursed.
  • A grant agreement was signed in February 2013 for the Climate Resilient Participatory Afforestation and Reforestation Project (USD 33.8m), to be implemented by the Forest Department. This project will help reduce forest degradation and increase forest coverage through participatory planning and monitoring, and will contribute to building the long-term resilience to climate change of selected communities in coastal and hilly areas. In hilly areas, nursery production of seedlings will commence as mature seeds become available and allow planting during the monsoon season. The selection criteria of 200 forest communities and training programs for participants from community based organizations has also been agreed upon by the implementing agencies and two NGOs have been selected for conducting research on alternate livelihoods to support forest communities. 
The Project Implementation Manual has been finalized and is categorized in three volumes. Volume 1 provides General Guidelines, Volume 2 provides Nursery and Plantation Guidelines and Volume 3 provides Technical Guidelines for Alternative Livelihood Support to Forest Communities. Disbursement commenced in August 2013, and as of March 31 2014, USD 3.5 million out of USD 33.8 million has been disbursed, which is a disbursement rate of 10.3%.
  • The Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), a government-owned financing body, has been entrusted with the management of the Community Climate Change Programme (CCCP, USD 12.5m), which will provide grants to NGO-driven projects. Two calls for project concepts were launched, in 2012 and 2013. The respective selection processes resulted in the funding of 27 proposals, for a total of USD 7,87 million. Among these 27 sub-projects, ten sub-projects target salinity-prone areas, nine sub-projects target flood-prone areas, and eight sub-projects target drought-prone areas. Further details on these 27 proposals are available on the CCCP Website.
  • The “Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Development Project II” is a solar irrigation project that is also supported by the BCCRF, using solar irrigation pumps for farmers. An agreement was signed in September 2013 for a first tranche of USD 10m. This project is to be implemented by Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (IDCOL), a public sector company set up to bridge the financing gap for developing medium and large-scale infrastructure and renewable energy projects in Bangladesh.
  • The programme’s research window was launched in the first quarter of 2012, covering three initial topics: the impact of climate change on the spread of vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever; the potential impact of adaptation options related to waterlogging in urban areas; and the assessment of the threat of climate-induced migration from vulnerable areas.
  • A results framework has been developed for 2012-2017, in order to monitor and measure the objectives of the BCCRF. It contains (i) a results roadmap (ii) the BCCRF reporting framework & (iii) a results measurement guide.

Further details on these and upcoming projects can be found on the BCCRF website.

Way forward 
  • A project entitled “Supporting Agriculture Adaptation to Climate Change”, notably targeting agricultural adaptation in climatic risk prone areas of Bangladesh (drought-, flood- and salinity-prone areas), has been conditionally approved. This project is to be implemented by the Department of Agricultural Extension of the Ministry of Agriculture in drought-, flood- and salinity-prone areas, has been conditionally approved. It is now in the process of further preparation with an estimated budget of USD 22.8m.
  • A detailed proposal is being prepared for a Modern Food Storage Facility Project to be implemented by the Ministry of Food and Disaster Management.
  • Under the “analytical and advisory activities” component, various feasibility and technical studies are in preparation, notably in relation to the construction of the Urir Char – Noakhali cross dam for land reclamation; the impact of climate change on vector-born diseases and implications for the health sector; urban flooding risks and adaptation options in the Greater Dhaka area; eco-engineering, climate adaptation and innovations in flood risk mitigation; and the spatial and temporal downscaling of climate models, with a view to making climate data more relevant to decision making.
  • Apart from the approved investment projects, the BCCRF has also focused on the fourth pillar of Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP) on Research and Knowledge Management. A wealth of information and research has already been undertaken and the team has identified some knowledge gaps. On this basis, the following areas have been identified and approved by the Management Committee for further analytical work:
    a) Climate change, vector-born diseases and implications for the health sector
    b) Vulnerability, adaptation, potential costs
 of urban flooding in Greater Dhaka Area
    c) Coastal zone in a changing climate: ingress of salinity frontier
    d) Scaling up innovation in disaster risk management in Bangladesh: a proposal to support human and financial resilience to natural hazards
    e) Eco-engineering, adaptation and innovations in flood risk mitigation
    f) Making climate data relevant to decision making in Bangladesh: spatial and temporal downscaling